NICOLE Scherzinger has given her strongest indication yet that she intends to leave the X Factor after just one series.
The former Pussycat doll joined the talent show at the beginning of this series after the departure of Kelly Rowland.
“I’m really glad I did the show. I don’t know if I’ll come back next year. End on a high, right?” she told The Sun.
There were reports earlier in the series that Simon Cowell was eager to poach Mel B from the Australian version of the show after a successful guest judging stint.
However it is now believed that Scherzinger is Cowell’s number one priority to sign for the next series of the struggling talent show.
A showbiz insider said: “Nicole has proved really popular with viewers – men want to be with her and women want to be her friend.
“She has brought some much needed fun to the panel and has been a bright spot in what everyone thinks is a terrible year for the show,” they added.
Reports suggest that besides Scherzinger, the only judge Cowell wants to see return to the show is pal Louis Walsh.
“Tulisa has lost her touch this year and her heart doesn’t seem to be in it, while Gary has a new album and touring commitments with Take That,” the source said.
It has previously been reported that Cowell is intending to return to the UK version of the show next year, and that negotiations are at an advanced level with Cheryl Cole on her return.
The X Factor has lost millions of viewers in the UK this year, and is down almost 10 million on its peak in 2009.
Liverpool singer Christopher Maloney has seen his odds slashed with the bookies as millions have been placed on him to win the competition.
The final of the X Factor 2012 takes place this weekend.